Farmer Focus: Investing in the latest cow gadgets

The silage pits are full with a good crop of red clover and whole crop leaving very little room for the second cut to be squeezed in.

Decent weather allowed us to make hay while the sun shone and, hopefully, the bales will stay cool. We drilled 9ha of stubble turnips into the whole crop aftermath as backup, as the neep crop that was previously sown has had a battering from pigeons and was not looking good next to the main road for all to see.

See also: Read more from our other Farmer Focus writers

The volunteer potatoes were the only greenery for a while, but with tatties killed off, they are making a comeback, and will all be needed as we have a decent crop of lambs to fatten.

Eldest son Andrew has now left school and is completing an Scottish vocational qualification in mixed farming at home with the hope of heading to agricultural college next year, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and Bob, who both left school at 15. He plans to come home to work with livestock in the future.

His work experience week was spent at the Highland Show which turned out to be successful as he won champion beef young handler. I will be spending time at the show next year as I have been asked to be a yearly director of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, and at a recent meeting, was given the honour of stewarding beef cattle. It’s a job I’m looking forward to very much.

The summer calving is in full swing and we have purchased some new toys – calving probes.

When inserted into a cow that is due to calf, it sends text messages with the help of a base station informing us of her temperature, predicted calving and then the final text is sent when the cow is calving and the probe has been pushed out before the water bag. It’s been working well so far and handy when you’re busy doing other things.

The autumn calvers were PD’d with more empty cows than normal, most are explainable, but a non-fertile bull didn’t help the situation, resulting in some cow culling.

Bob and Kay Adam run 100 pedigree Limousin and Charolais cows on their 222ha family farm in Angus and rent a 728ha hill farm running 640 ewes and 30 suckler cows